The budget proposal requests $1.5 billion, including $340 million in the Wildfire Suppression Operations Reserve Fund, targeted to reduce wildfire risk, build resilient landscapes, and expand workforce capacity
Date: Monday, March 28, 2022
WASHINGTON — The Biden-Harris Administration today submitted to Congress the President’s Budget for fiscal year 2023. The President’s Budget details his vision to expand on the historic progress our country has made over the last year and deliver the agenda he laid out in his State of the Union address—to build a better America, reduce the deficit, reduce costs for families, and grow the economy from the bottom up and middle out.
The President’s Budget for fiscal year 2023 proposes a significant increase for the Department of the Interior’s Wildland Fire Management Program to address the effects of climate change and the impacts of wildfires on public health, communities, and natural and cultural resources.
“Climate change is propelling more frequent, extreme wildland fires that endanger lives, communities, and landscapes across the country,” said Office of Wildland Fire Director Jeff Rupert. “The President’s budget request for wildland fire management takes meaningful steps to adapt to these challenges by transitioning to a year-round firefighting workforce and expanding efforts to restore fire-adapted ecosystems.”
Last year, nearly 59,000 wildfires burned more than 7.1 million acres across the U.S. The 2021 fire year was notable because the country was at a heightened preparedness level for a record 99 consecutive days.
The President’s Budget request for Interior’s Wildland Fire Management Program in 2023 represents a $237 million increase over the 2022 continuing resolution funding level. It will expand Interior’s wildland fire management by:
Modernizing the wildland fire workforce. Effective wildland fire management requires a workforce that is fairly compensated, available year-round, and cared for both physically and mentally. The budget includes $477 million for fire preparedness with increases to improve firefighter compensation; convert more firefighters from seasonal to permanent, full-time employees; and increase the total number of wildland fire management personnel through additional hiring.
Reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfires through collaboration and applied science. The budget includes a $304 million investment to mitigate wildfire hazards and strengthen climate resiliency in areas at high risk for wildland fire. Of this amount, nearly $59 million will increase capacity for vegetation management to help create fire-adapted communities and restore fire-resilient landscapes. To support collaborative work with Tribal nations, $15 million will be invested in the Reserved Treaty Rights Lands program to enhance the health and resiliency of Tribal landscapes.
Suppressing harmful wildfires. The budget includes nearly $384 million to protect life, property, infrastructure, and natural and cultural resources from harmful wildfires. In addition, the budget request makes available another $340 million in the Wildfire Suppression Operation Reserve Fund for further wildfire suppression needs during the year.
Increasing resiliency through the rehabilitation of lands. The request includes an investment of $20 million for the rehabilitation of lands damaged by wildfires. Timely rehabilitation helps to restore healthy ecosystems, making them more resilient to wildfires and better able to withstand the effects of climate change. A portion of this amount will focus on areas adjacent to underrepresented communities to continue work on critical restoration activities.
Supporting a better understanding of the effects of climate change on wildfires. The budget proposes $4 million for the Joint Fire Science Program, an interagency partnership with the USDA Forest Service that funds wildfire science research projects. The request will fund climate-related research towards a better understanding of landscape resiliency and the beneficial uses of prescribed fire, carbon storage, and greenhouse gas and smoke emissions.
The President’s Budget is critical to support the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy and efforts to work collaboratively with partners to make meaningful progress toward resilient landscapes, fire-adapted communities, and safe and effective wildfire response.
The funding proposed in the President’s Budget for fiscal year 2023 is further supported by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law enacted in November 2021. The law provides nearly $1.5 billion over five years for the Interior Department to increase the resilience of communities and lands facing the threat of wildfires and to better support federal wildland firefighters.
The President's Budget makes critical investments in the American people that will help lay a stronger foundation for shared growth and prosperity for generations to come. The Budget makes these smart investments while also reducing deficits and improving our country’s long-term fiscal outlook.
For more information on the President’s Fiscal Year 2023 Budget, please visit: https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/.